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Permaculture Research Institute Luganville, Vanuatu
Permaculture Research Institute Luganville, Vanuatu
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Lambue, Belaru, Espiritu Santo, Luganville, Sanma province, VU
Climate zone:
Wet Tropical

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News from the bush, part 10

Project: Permaculture Research Institute Luganville, Vanuatu

Posted by Zaia Kendall over 5 years ago

On the Monday 21st, a big team went to the land early morning! Frank, his wife, his ‘Bro’: Alfred, Bernard and Dede from Bellaru all joined us, and it has been very nice to feel this support after all the doubts from the previous week. We are starting to be part of the local area and all our neighbours were happy to come and give a hand. Every one grabbed a bamboo on the way up to the land. The whole team arrived, we started to work under Franck’s directions, we cleaned the palm rails for the floor structure and we nailed them after nailing the beams to the posts with big ‘wires’ which is actually a concrete steel rod. Then
Bernard led the group to a soft bamboo spot and every one brought back a bundle of this walling material! Alfred showed us how to process bamboo wall according to the triangle shape, every one took part peeling out from knots, splitting up in half and opening up the all things before to flatten it. Then we stared to weave a wall and with the help of few people working together it was done really quickly.

In the mean time Franck and Dany worked on the bamboo flooring, they used the strong variety which they split and flattened before fixing onto the floor structure.

P1070771It has been so good to see the site going in such a small time so much further and we felt really grateful for this group of locals who integrated us into the neighbourhood and that underlined the importance of integration for the project development.
I even had a bit of time in the garden where I planted more cucumber and spread onions clumps from the kitchen around and I transplanted zucchinis, one kind didn’t germinate at all and the other one a lot so I moved some in different beds. The African yam are starting to pop up!!!!P1070722

On the Tuesday 22nd we went back to site very early with a new big team, Frank, his wife, Alfred his ‘Bro’ and Patrick his other ‘Bro’ who weaves bamboos as well, he started another long wall with the help of Terry, Alfred and Ginette. In the mean time Franck, Meriem and Dany focused on the bamboo flooring and I could practice to make one small wall by myself! I succeeded and was really happy and empowered to be able to do a wall by myself in such a short time but I realise as well that this job is a team job. They showed us another technique made straight on the wall and the flooring got done! In the garden some pawpaw are finally sprouting!

On the Wednesday 23rd, I went into town to go to the bank, to order sand and gravel , to upload a new article, do some internet stuff and a big shop !!! I met a great French woman who is coming every year since 15 years to spend her summer months with Mal Mal people in the mountains. On the way back I went to talk with Ray and Agnes and gave them the money to buy sand and gravel for the building of our water tank, I asked about getting more natan gura leaves for thatch … Ray said that he is not having any anymore down and that we need to cut some on his land, he proposed to come the next day to the land with a second hand hook he saw in town to cut natan gura branches.

The guys went to the land after carrying big bamboos like every other day. They finished the second room floor and they put up the big wall and went to get more nafenua (Macaranga dioica) and burao (Hibiscus tiliaceus) material to do the strapping: those huge flat surface of bamboos get deformed with time, temperature and humidity variations so we need to support them in place with boards or small section of wood placed horizontally or vertically.

P1070725P1070726On the Thursday 24th, Bernard came for a visit in the morning, he carried some buluk meat (Cow) for us . We left early with Frank and Ginette , we didn’t stop at the bamboo patch but we picked some small burao on the way to make more strapping. Meriem continued her walling with Ginette’s help and Frank and Dany carry on with walling structure, which is also serving for bracing and nailing the bamboo wall. They then went around in the bush looking for new material and they came back with three huge new posts for the kitchen, one for the middle and two to double up the palm posts that Frank dislikes!

P1070729I spent time in the garden that had actually a big growth in these past few days! The white choko finally sprouted! More African yams are coming on, I did a bit of weeding around in the bed and the path to keep the control of the grass in the kitchen garden and I prepared a new bed where I planted some parsley and radishes, I also spread oregano and rocket on the other side. Some parsley went also nearby the tomatoes.

We put the last big wall of the house all together binding it into place before adjusting it with the knife to fit it perfectly.

P1070732After lunch we had a visit from Ray who was amazed to see our house advancement, I gave him a little tour in the garden trying to plant some permaculture seeds in his mind and he quite liked it! He was really happy to see our advancement in the garden as well. We talked about the tank and how to get the material on site.

Meriem sowed some pop corn cassia and pigeon peas in the stump green house and went back home early with Ginette who hurt herself with a bamboo split getting into her eye. She had a lot of pain and struggled to handle the bright light in the sun. This event reminded every one that bamboos works are really dangerous and should be done cautiously.

P1070759The guys put up the 3 new posts in the middle of the kitchen and set up a rail on top of them. I planted some cover ground beans nearby the sweet potatoes and went for exploring in the low thick bush area. I slashed quite a bit and then I got completely lost … I was lucky to hear Frank cutting wood and succeeded to find my way back following his voice answering me! I was actually much further than I was thinking and realise that we do really need to do more exploring.

My bush knife started to have a bit of lose movement in the handle, Franck found a solution straight away! Nabanga skin : Banyan bark! (Ficus ssp)

P1070786On the 25th, early morning we arrived on the land, I went to get water and I did a quick visit to Manae garden to water his seedlings, as the sun is high and strong since few days now. Meriem went back to the swale and fought this day with a lot of roots.

The guys replaced the main posts of the kitchen and added a post extension supporting the ridge from the rail settled on the previous day on top of the new middle post. Then we started to set up the purlins of the kitchen and the first 3 rafters. We had to go rapidly to the forest to get more but every one was tired and we had a light day. Frank did a lot of thinking and we spent little time in the forest looking at medicinal plants and also talking a lot about magic and some beliefs of their culture about the forest. We carried quite a few rafters but we had to go very far, the immediate surrounding forest is starting to be a bit poor in long straight good quality strong wood. Linden came in the afternoon. We did then a lot of peeling and I sowed some Shiso perilla, a cinnamon spiced herb before heading back home earlier with Meriem in order to prepare the night meal and the next day breakie and lunch. I stopped at the bamboo spot to collect some small section of big bamboos in order to make some planting pots.

We decided to rest for two days and not to go on the land the next day.

Dede and Nerie came for a visit and told us they will come to give us a hand on Monday.

On the Saturday 26th, we went into town to do some shopping, we bought nails and did a bit of research and some personal internet communication as we no longer have the mifi (internet modem) which is way too expensive for the project budget.

Frank and Ginette woke up very early and went to dive (snorkel fishing)! They came back with 23 fish!

IMG_5294On the Sunday 27th, we had a home duties day after our cassava pancakes as it is now a routine. We cleaned the house, the pots, did laundry and we made a big cassava fish lab lab with Ginette. Nicolas a new friend from Switzerland who we met during a previous weekend I spent in Champagne beach, arrived to join the team of volunteers for few days interested to learn more about permaculture and bush style living. We were of course all happy to welcome a new face and help!

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